Photo: Jonathan Hood
Vast Torres del Paine national park, located in Chilean Patagonia, just a few hours from the southern city of Punta Arenas, is one of Chile’s proudest and most-visited national parks, and with good reason.
The park’s 600,000 acres comprise a vast ecosystem of glaciers, forests, steppe, glacial valleys, lakeside camping, a striated massif, and the granite spires of the towers for which the park itself is named.
Medellín is known by locals and visitors alike as the “City of Eternal Spring,” and that title is never more deserved than during the first two weeks of August, when the city bursts into a blaze of color for its annual Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival). The festival, which has taken place every year since 1957, is a celebration of Medellín’s traditional products and economy – the region is the center of flower production for Colombia, which is one of the largest exporters of flowers in the world. But it has also become an opportunity for the city, which was recently named the world’s most innovative, to show off just what earned it that honor. With almost two weeks of bright colors, friendly (and attractive) locals and world-class spots to spend your downtime, the Feria makes falling in love near-inevitable.
Photo: Rodrigo Pizarro
When you go on a trip, half of the fun is looking through pictures, and telling stories of the great times you had. But after the newness of that wears off, you’ll always remember the lapiz lazuli earrings you bought for yourself, or the delicate woven scarf you brought for a friend, saying, “I saw this in Chile, and I thought of you.”
The hometowns of two of Argentina’s athletic heroes – tennis star Juan Martín del Potro and fútbolista Lionel Messi, considered the greatest soccer player in the world – double as wintry weekend getaways from Buenos Aires.
Photo: Travel Salem
They say big things come in small packages…like Ecuador. This small country comprises less than 1% of the Earth’s surface. But inside the small package is found an immense bio-diversity.
Ecuador alone has half of all South America’s 3000 bird species, and 10% of the world’s plants. It is the single greatest producer and exporter of bananas in the world. And when talking about plants, consider some of the native flowers. Bromeliads: Ecuador has 447 varieties, of which 176 are endemic, which means you only find them in Ecuador. Orchids: Ecuador has more than 4,000 varieties.
Photo: Calle del Medio Restaurant
I recommend you start your night at Calle del Medio Restaurant located in front of the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). From the moment this place opened its doors, it was destined to become one of the city’s favorites. This might be because of its colorful and cozy atmosphere, but also because of its signature cuisine made of Andean ingredients, such as Alpaca brochette and Tartare de trucha (Trout tartar).
Photo: Miguel Vaca
Chapinero is the place to be for Bogotá’s young and hip crowd. This is where you find the punk rock kids, the sunglasses-wearing clubbers, the teenagers drinking beer away from the watchful eyes of their parents. Chapinero isn’t the clean-scrubbed young people waving their parents’ credit cards around the dark dance floors of the Zona Rosa and Zona T – in fact, the neighborhood is filled with so much facial hair and tattoos that you might be forgiven for thinking you had accidentally wandered into Williamsburg. But that – and the much lower price tag compared to the ritzier neighborhoods to the north – is what makes this area so appealing for so many. If you’re looking for a fun night out in the city without breaking the bank, here are a few suggestions to make the best of your night:
Visitors to Brazil often underestimate the size of the country (it’s the 5th largest country in the world, bigger than the continental United States) so as a result, end up facing some tough decisions about where to spend their time after Rio de Janeiro and Iguazú Falls. One of the most common dilemmas travelers face is choosing between the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest; and the Pantanal, one of the world’s largest freshwater wetlands. Of course, the honest answer is, “Why choose? Go to both!”
Photo: California Avocados
Chilean wine is famous the world over, but in the fertile northern valleys of the country, you’ll see wide green areas planted with grapes for making pisco, a grape-based distilled alcohol that varies from 30-43 % alcohol. But most importantly, where there’s pisco, you’ll find the tart, refreshing pisco sour.
Photo: Santiago Brusa
Perhaps you’ve heard: Buenos Aires’ culinary scene has been undergoing a metamorphosis. In the not very distant past, if you weren’t in the mood for grilled meat, pasta, or tapas – the latter two a throwback to the city’s Italian and Spanish heritage – you were out of luck at dinnertime. Today, a growing number of innovative chefs bring much-needed diversity to the city’s dining sphere, while others focus on perfecting traditional recipes for an increasingly discerning clientele. Of course, the foodie scene isn’t necessarily easy to access: as any traveler who’s ever visited a large city can attest, it’s easy to overspend on a mediocre meal. Enter the professional epicures. Though the following two services are quite different – the first a socially-minded food tour, the second a personalized ‘anti-tour’ through the city’s lesser – known food highlights – both provide invaluable entry into gourmet Buenos Aires.
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